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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question - I have been given the opportunity to use some rooms in annexes to my parent's farmhouse. These rooms are pretty bare, they have basic electrical work done to them, but the floors are still cement (unleveled) and aside from the fact that the buildings now have windows, that's pretty much all they have.

I wanted to know what sort of things does a layout room need? Are there components which I would need to spend money on to get installed before I even begin about putting down baseboards?

Thanks for your advice guys!
 

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QUOTE (Kimbo @ 21 Feb 2008, 17:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have a question - I have been given the opportunity to use some rooms in annexes to my parent's farmhouse. These rooms are pretty bare, they have basic electrical work done to them, but the floors are still cement (unleveled) and aside from the fact that the buildings now have windows, that's pretty much all they have.

I wanted to know what sort of things does a layout room need? Are there components which I would need to spend money on to get installed before I even begin about putting down baseboards?

Thanks for your advice guys!

Hi Kimbo,

If I know anything about farmhouse annexes they are little better than 4 walls and a roof which will only keep out the worst of the elements. I would suggest that the main thing to consider is how to control the environment in terms of temperature and humidity which, if they vary a great deal, can play havoc with both the baseboard joinery and the electrics. Baseboards will warp and track will rust with the resultant loss of electrical contact, not to mention the effect it will have on your locos.

If the rooms are actually attached to the house is it possible to extend the central heating system and perhaps install thermostaticaly controlled radiators on a timer ? Is there any finish to the walls which would provide some insulation and are the window(s) double glazed ?

As regards the electrics, you say they are basic but what actually has been installed ? Separate circuits for light and power ? Are they ring mains taken directly from the main distribution board or just a simple spur taken from the house. A model railway does not usually have a high electrical load but it depends what else you plan to have in there and what other load is on that particular circuit.

The floor may not be a major problem as any unevenness, provided it is not too uneven, can be taken out with adjustable feet on the base-board supports. It might be a bit cold on the feet though !!

Sorry to seem a bit negative but you may be embarking on a major renovation project which will not be cheap.

Regards,

Expat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Expat,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a complete response. I had a feeling this might be a more costly venture than simply hacking straight at it!

Whilst the annex is attached to the house, the rooms themselves are on the other side of an annex which used to house a brewery, so it's actually a huge distance we're talking about. The closest thing that could be brought in I suppose is electric heating?

The windows are indeed double-glazed - I was in the annex during the winter and whilst it doesn't seem to get extremely cold over the winter, its clear that there are wide dispartities between summer and winter.

The beginnings of the electrical network is there - there is, as far as I know, seperate circuitry for lights and electrical outlets - in any case there are running lights in the building and as far as I can tell the electrical wiring was done quite well. They have their own distribution board and all of that.
 

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Other than the need for heating, the concrete floors will need to be sealed or covered as concrete is very dusty and this could cause problems with dirty track and electrical pick-up for your locos. I do not think that humidity will be much of a problem if you use ply for the baseboard construction, also temperature in a loft will far exceed the variations you will get and there are little problems with loft layouts if gaps are left for expansion of the track, and I would think you would have similar conditions for most of the year.

hope this helps, I wish I had some where like that for my layout!

regards

mike g
 

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Hello Kimbo,

Yes, you must do something about the floor. As well as a capacity to generate dust indefinitely also concrete does not yield and is uncomfortable to stand or kneel on for any period of time such as when constructing a layout. I would recommend something that yields like an insulated wooden floor, and perhaps underfloor heating would be a worthwhile investment?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In terms of the options ,what would seem to be the most worthwhile investment? In the end the room(s) would be exclusively used for my model layout!

Though I guess if I'm going to make this kind of investment I might as well go right away for the bigger room my parents proposed. But that one's a whopper of a space 104 sqm.
 

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If I remember correctly Kimbo, you are in Belgium ?

If so you may very well be able to do more or less than you can in the UK without consulting the local authority. AFAIK for some work you need a "controlle" which is some form of permit. To get a nice level floor you could consider laying the wooden floor on a layer of insulation as used currently in the UK. The same method could also be used for the walls.

Electrics are a little different from the UK, although the newer standards are moving towards "harmonisasion".

You may need some more localised advice in the area of building work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi DB,

Indeed that's correct, my parents are in Wallonia - In order to get advice, would I go to an architect or someone different???

Wooden floor it would be then, this is a better option than a carpetted floor?
 

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Is there a ceiling to the room? Or is it open to the underside of the roof? If the latter then you should think about ftting a ceiling if possible; otherwise you are likely get dirt and the like dropping off the roof. Also any heating you put in will be lost mostly to the roof space.

If you cannot cover the concrete with a wood floor (which will also help keep the heat losses low and save getting cold feet) then there are various floor 'levelling' compounds which can be applied - these will seal the concrete and level out minor irregularities in the floor.

Best wishes for your endeavours,
John Webb
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 22 Feb 2008, 09:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you cannot cover the concrete with a wood floor (which will also help keep the heat losses low and save getting cold feet) then there are various floor 'levelling' compounds which can be applied - these will seal the concrete and level out minor irregularities in the floor.

Best wishes for your endeavours,
John Webb
I painted mine. The process involves treating the concrete with hydrochloric acid first.
 

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Hi Kimbo,

I've been watching the various suggestions with interest and, for what it's worth, would personally go for the wood floor on top of an insulation layer with underfloor heating. I had it in my previous home in the UK (designed & built myself) and can thoroughly recommend it for providing a very even heat in a room. If you want to know more just drop me a line "off Forum".

This is, however, quite an expensive solution. A cheaper option would be to lay 'cushioned' PVC sheet flooring once the sub-floor is levelled. Heating could be by skirting radiators. Make sure the room is well insulated though, particularly the ceiling, or the power bills are likely to cause parental friction !!!

Regards,

Expat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my situation and provide me such detailed advice.

The best way to describe the room would probably be to take some pictures of it
It's difficult to explain how the room is arranged, so next time I'm up at my parents I'll be sure to take the digital camera along.

But thank you all for the great advice! I'll definetely have plenty to take to a local builder which I think in the end sounds like the best place to go for prices and stuff in any circumstance.

Best wishes,

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, looks like all my plans have been changed! If the banks agree, we'll be buying a new house! It's a triplex, and I've negotiated the use of the top floor for my trains - all I need to do is make sure there's a space for visitors to sleep and I'm all set!

It's sold with only the big works completed, so it's up to us to take care of everything inside.

So looks like your suggestions about wooden flooring and underfloor heating are going to be viable options! I think I've got more or less 45 to 50m2 to work with.
 
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